I’m devoting this week’s posts to useful information for the next group of Kosovo volunteers, who are starting to get their acceptance letters for the Peace Corps. –April
I wrote a previous post about money during pre-service training. Now that I am at permanent site, I have decided to keep an Excel spreadsheet to track my expenses.
Back when I was still living in Chicago, we had a conference call with the Kosovo Peace Corps staff to address any lingering questions. One of mine was: “How much is our living allowance?” for which I received a cagey response: “It’ll be enough to live on.” Hahahaha. So funny, Peace Corps.
Well, I am going to tell you exactly how much we get paid here in Peace Corps Kosovo: $353 Euro per month. (A full-time teacher here in Kosovo earns $500 Euro per month.)
Peace Corps directly deposits the money into the Kosovo bank accounts they set up for us. From that, we are responsible for paying our host families. The minimum amount we can pay them is $130 for rent, and then we negotiate the cost of food with them (some people, like me, eat the majority of meals with their families. Other people buy their own groceries and don’t eat with their families at all.) This past month, I gave my host family $50 Euro for groceries, which is the average amount most of us who eat with our families pay.
After paying $180 to my host family, that left me with $173 Euro to spend however I wanted. You can see my spreadsheet of expenses here: october-2016-peace-corps-budget-sheet.
I overspent this month by $14.86 — not great. This was a bit disheartening for me, as there are plenty of days when I don’t leave the house (except to go to school) or spend money. I was shocked to see I spent $70 Euro just on transportation costs. I also ate about 2 meals per week at a restaurant. Most of the rest of my money was spent on grocery items. Though I pay my family for food, I still end up buying some things (like yogurt for breakfast, fruit, chocolate, and personal toiletries). Those are the major areas I’ll be looking at next month to try and cut back.